Arkansans who have already applied for FEMA disaster assistance for the March 31 EF3 tornado that hit Pulaski and Lonoke counties must let FEMA know about any insurance settlements or denials you receive.
FEMA’s Individual Assistance program may cover damage that your insurance does not, public information officer Thomas G. Kempton in an email.
“Disaster assistance can help with rental assistance, temporary housing, home repair and replacement, personal property losses and other disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.”
Kempton added, “homeowners and renters may be eligible for assistance.”
Providing FEMA your insurance documentation can move your application forward to determine eligibility.
By law, FEMA cannot provide funding to individuals or households for losses covered by insurance or any other source. However, if you filed an insurance claim and have disaster-related needs that still need to be addressed, FEMA may consider you for its Other Needs Assistance program or refer you to an agency that can help.
Remember when you file a claim with your insurance agent or company, find out what your policy covers and be sure to keep papers and receipts for any work you have done to repair your home.
In another press release, Kempton said, those “ who receive federal disaster assistance for the severe storms and tornadoes that occurred March 31, to use the money for its intended purpose and to keep all receipts.
Disaster assistance is intended to help survivors pay for basic expenses caused by the disaster. A letter explaining what the payment is to be used for arrives within a day or two of the check or direct deposit payment.
Approved uses for grants include:
Repairs to make a home livable
Rental assistance to temporarily pay for a place to stay
Repair or replacement of a disaster-damaged essential vehicle
Medical care for an injury caused by the disaster
Replacing clothing, occupational tools and educational materials
Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster.
Disaster grants should not be used for travel, entertainment, regular living expenses or any discretionary expenses not related to the disaster. If applicants spend the payment on anything other than the purpose for which it is intended, they may be denied future disaster assistance. In some cases, FEMA may ask that the money be returned.
Those receiving assistance are urged to keep receipts for their disaster spending for three years to document the money was used to meet disaster-related expenses. If you receive an insurance settlement to cover the same expenses, you must reimburse FEMA. Audits are conducted to confirm funds were spent properly.
After you apply for disaster assistance, FEMA may call you to obtain, verify or share information. These calls may come from unfamiliar area codes or phone numbers.
FEMA representatives are reaching out to survivors of the March 31 severe storms and tornadoes that have applied for disaster assistance. Representatives may call for a variety of reasons such as issues with applications (missing documents, insurance settlement paperwork, etc.), follow-up on access and functional needs and/or to schedule inspections at the address where the damage was reported.
If you receive a call from someone stating they are a FEMA representative, but you are skeptical, do not give out any information. Call 800-621-3362 to verify the call is legitimate.
If you suspect fraud, call the toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or visit justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
If you live in Cross, Lonoke or Pulaski counties and haven’t yet applied for FEMA assistance you may still complete an application.
The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting disasterassistance.gov/.
If it is not possible to apply in person or online, you can call 800-621-3362.
Disaster survivors rebuilding and repairing homes after the March 31 severe storms and tornadoes can visit Cantrell Ace Hardware in Little Rock to speak with FEMA Hazard Mitigation Outreach Specialists about your damage and discuss how best to repair your homes.
FEMA staff will be available now to May 20 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday at Cantrell Ace Hardware, 2600 Cantrell Road, Little Rock.
Calls regarding the tornado and relief efforts: 501-906-5014
Calls regarding individuals or groups wanting to volunteer: 501-791-8500
Click here for online help.